Mali Highlights




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General Information

Mali, one of those countries less travelled by overlanders. Landlocked and mostly in the Sahara region. The country is mostly flat except in the south western part. Mali is one of the largest countries in Africa with a relatively small population. Bamako, Timbuktu, Djenne, Mopti and the Dogon region around the Bandiagara escarpment are must visit areas. We were incredibly lucky to meet Ogo who invited us to meet his family in the Dogon area well known for its unique cliffside villages. We spend 3 amazing days in the village. Mali consist of 8 regions from the Sahara Desert to the far south where most of the population lives. Agriculture and mining are the 2 main sources of income. The natural resources include gold. Mali is the 3rd largest producer of gold in Africa. Others are uranium, phosphates, salt, and limestone. We have been told Mali has more than 18000 tonnes of uranium. Since 1992 (after the 1991 coup) Mali is a multi-party country. In 2012-armed conflict broke out in Northern Mali claiming a new state called Azawad however a year later Mali government forces together with French troops recaptured the area. Since 2015 the conflict has escalated again in particular between the Dogong and Bambara people and the Fulani people who seem to work together with al Qaeda. But this has been denied and it appears that the real problem is Cattle stealing, banditry and score settling. Islam was introduced to West Africa in the 11th century and remains the predominant religion in much of the region an estimated 90% of Malians are Muslim (mainly Sunni 5% are Christian and the remaining 5% indigenous such as the Dogong religion. Public education is free however enrolment rate is low due to families unable to pay for school uniforms, books etc. Medical facilities in Mali are extremely limited and medicines in short supply. Mali’s health system ranks among the lowest in the world. Malaria, Cholera and Tuberculosis are some of diseases Mali must deal with. Mali also suffers from a high rate of Child malnutrition. Over 2% of Mali’s adult population was affected with HIV/AIDS and we were told around 85% of Mali girls and woman have had female genital mutilation.